Q: Greetings SOU,
What was the course correction on Dec 17 c. 9:30am (UTC -5) Lat 13.27 Lon -53.39 to correct for?
Wishing you continued good luck,
A: I think what you are referring to is when we had to adjust our course because the seas were getting big and we wanted to be more comfortable. James
Q: Greetings Spirit of Ulysses—
Here’s a question for each of the five of you:
If you could make a substantial change to any substantial part of Spirit of Ulysses to better suit her to ocean crossings, what would that change be?
Smooth “sailing” and many thanks.
A. Hi William, great question. I will ask each team member to answer.
James: For me I would have liked to have satellite internet access. Currently we are able to communicate via a Garmin Inreach, iridium Go!, and a satellite phone. None of this equipment allows us internet access.
Doug: We are conserving diesel fuel and using the generator one hour a day so the stateroom below by the engine room gets pretty hot. I would say an improvement would be bigger fans!
Jordi: I would like to see a PTO (Power take-off)on the 33k genset. The original owner did not include this when the boat was originally ordered.
Lisa: I would second the call for internet on board in order to make it easier to communicate with family as well as prep for arrival. Aside from that, an ice maker would be ideal. (I should qualify that by saying there are actually two ice makers on board which were previously disconnected!)
Mike: I’d like to have an additional freezer aboard. We currently have two aboard now. I also wish my daughter would have been able to join the adventure. She just finished her last year of high school and it would have been a really cool experience for her.
Q: Hello, My daughter and I very much enjoy following your adventure as we would love, one day, to do the same. The question we had is why you do not wear any life vests while on the deck ? We sail in the UK (Solent) and always have ours when outdoors (on our smaller boat). Thank you, Guillaume and Olivia
A: Hi Guillame and Olivia, thank you for your question. When going out on deck, we always evaluate the swell and weather before any crew goes out. Everyone has a life jacket and harness ready to go if needed. You might have read about James wearing his during the bad weather while he was grilling in the cockpit. We also ensure no one goes outside at night. Good luck with your cruising plans. – Capt. Jordi
Q: Greetings , I own 7610 and I’m planning to make the same crossing in a couple of years. I’m interested to know if you have a specific strategy about targeting Nm/gal and if is so, what is the number you look to maintain. Also if you are planning to run one engine at the time (to save fuel and oil change along the crossing) and what are the reading of your digital flowmeter at different rpms.
thanks and have a wonderful trip. Paolo
A. Congratulations on owning N7610! We are constantly looking at the weather forecast – we also look at consumption which constantly changes with current, wind and wave. Currently we are running along at 1249/1248 rpm at 8.5 knots burning just under 6 US gallons per engine per/hr. We have a good forecast for the next two days and plan to slow a bit to add to our reserve fuel. – James
Q: Hi Guys, thanks for posting and allowing us to ride along! I check several times a day – almost feel as though I’m there with you! Does Spirit of Ulysses have a bulbous bow? Given the prevailing conditions, which appear to be mostly quartering, would you have any preference, i.e., bulbous or not? Hope you’re all having a great time! Lance
A: Hi Lance, thanks for the question! SOU does not have a bulbous bow. That’s an option the original buyer did not select. With the seas behind us I don’t really notice a difference. Captain Jordi thinks we would pick up a little speed if the boat did have the optional bulb fitted. -James
Q. Hi Dad, my brother wants to know what type of fish you’re fishing for. And how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are. James Leishman
A: Hi James! We are trying to catch tuna and Dorado or also called Mahi Mahi – like the one you caught in Hawaii. We have hooked a lot of fish but it’s been hard to get them on the boat. The waves have been big and we don’t like to slow down too much. We landed a nice big dorado two days ago. Yesterday we hooked up on what I think was a huge marlin – it almost took all of our line before it snapped the lure off!
We are on a Nordhavn 76 with 4 bathrooms and 3 bedrooms. There is also a nice place in the pilot house for a captain to sleep. I’ll see you soon! Love, Dad.
Q: Actually – no real question…..just a hello and thank you. I just took over the N47#59 and your trip is more than motivation for a new Nordhavn owner.
I can’t wait to take her out on the Med and Atlantic to do things like you’re doing. I wish you always a hand’s breadth of water under the keel. Mario
A: Congratulations Mario! Look forward to seeing you on the high seas! – Mike
Q: I did not realize what a dramatic effect the stabilizers had on the boat. Showing it in the way you did really demonstrated their value. While yourselves and others have mentioned it is difficult to show sea state in videos, I think this was a very good representation through the side windows.
You appear to be using the BBQ quite a bit however it looks like quite a small electrical unit. Is it ideal for the purpose or is a bigger gas powered one in the boats future.
Take Good Care
A: Hi Dean, firstly, the bbq is getting plenty of use whatever the weather as James is a massive enthusiast – even harnessing himself to it in 30 knot winds. As for the size, we have 5 on the boat and it seems to be working fine. There’s another on the fly deck if we need it.
On the question of stabilizers, you’re right – they make a massive difference in these choppy seas.- Mike
Q: Hi James, Seeing that the weather is rough, it reminded me of the cross stitch I did for your office which says “If the seas were always calm, we would never build a better boat!” As usual, this Nordhavn proves that you guys just keep building better boats. Stephanie, N41 – Tavie
A: Very true, Stephanie! Even though we are on a little bit older boat, she is performing as well as any of the newest Nordhavns – or the oldest Nordhavns for that matter! The fundamental design and engineering of Nordhavns doesn’t change. Just the electronics/technology and creature comforts. I’d do this trip on any of our full-displacement models – including yours!
Q: Hi James.
What weather program and which weather models du you find most accurate on your trip for predicting wave and wind?
A: Hi Jens, we are using Predict Wind which has been helpful to look ahead a couple of days. We connect using an Iridium Go! However…the wind and waves we have experienced over the last three days was significantly worse than the forecast we received. – James
Q: Hi all, it’s great getting regular updates plus a variety of photos and a couple of videos, way better than the obligatory sunset photo Mike kept sending us prior to James arrival. What would also be brilliant is maybe a manual update of position every 24 hrs as the AIS on board is not subscribed to satellite which means we can’t track your position very far offshore, this would be especially great as you cross the Atlantic post Cape Verde so anyone interested or generally nosey can keep up with your progress? Happy sailing, Bruce Dewi Khan Pam and Jet
A: But the sunsets are amazing! We will provide daily GPS coordinates in our updates from now on in addition to the other “Captain’s Log” information coming through from the Garmin In-Reach unit. – Mike
Q: Our questions are social ones for Mr.Ridgway. We note the Leishman and Harlow families are skilled motorcyclists as well as accomplished seamen. We understand that Mr. Ridgway is a biker. Many Kiwi’s we know are members of riding clubs (gangs perhaps) and take biking very seriously. Are you a member of a club Mr. Ridgway? What bikes are in your collection? Have you and the crew had the time to have a fun discussion about biking? Perhaps while enjoying a beverage? Do you plan on fitting a bike aboard? Also, please feel free to share your other passions.
We hope you will continue sharing since we have for years followed and enjoyed other Nordhavn adventures. We’re very glad that Doug Harlow is with you. Doug’s filming, editing, and professional documentation will make this a special crossing. And, this voyage will not disappoint with James Leishman crewing. Whenever members of the Leishman and Harlow families are together, good things are happening.
Greg and Madelyn
A: Hi Greg and Madelyn, good to hear from you again! James tells me you’ve ordered a new N625. Congratulations! Would love to check it out when we get to catch up. When we decided to do the Atlantic crossing, the motorbike trip became a short-term casualty, but the call of the road is as strong as the ocean’s so you can be sure the trip won’t be shelved for long! -Mike
Q: Hi Mike,
Congrats on your new boat and “go for it” attitude! Sounds like you are having a terrific time even with some pretty rugged weather. I would be curious to see some video of the “sea-state” to get a sense of how effective the stabilizers keep the boat from violent rocking. Probably by the time you get this message the ocean will be mirror smooth!!
A: Hi Matt, we do have some footage for the website that we are happy to share. Right now we are only able to communicate through SAT phone so can’t send photos or video until we get within cell service again. If you’ve ever tried to capture waves through a camera, it rarely illustrates the actual experience. That said, we lost the stabilizers for 10 minutes or so during the worst of the weather and the difference was incredible. For me the stabilizers and the Fluxgate compass feed are great assets to have on board when the weather gets rough but I guess the overall built-in redundancy generally gives us peace of mind when it gets gnarly. – Mike
Q: I see that you are on a watch schedule that has 2 hour watches. When I worked offshore in the oilfield on survey boats, we had a 4 hours on, 8 hours off schedule. That was for 3 watch standers and usually a deckhand or another person on watch at night with the watch stander . We tried to always have 2 sets of eyes at night because of all the structures and traffic in the Gulf of Mexico. How many people are standing watch on your passage and what is the time on /time off.
Are you traveling with a “buddy boat “ or are you in contact with other boats making the passage across?
Thank you for allowing us to follow your adventures. Chris
A: Hi Chris, yes, we are doing two-hour watches between five people which works out great. The pilothouse is a roomy space that’s ideal for gathering so there is usually more than two people there at a time, anyway. In regards to the buddy boat, we are traveling alone but are totally confident in the boat and its onboard capabilities. – Doug
Q: Are you keeping track of actual fuel burn? If so, are you doing so by piece of equipment (engines, generators, anything else)? Similar questions for electrical power draw. It would be interesting to see how close actual usage compares to designed usage. Thank you and safe travels. Steven
A: Hi Steven, All modern Nordhavns are equipped with a beautifully designed gravity-fed fuel system. To do a consumption test we close all feed tanks and only run off the supply/day tank. We then send all return fuel back to the same supply tank from both main engines and gensets and/or any other system that consumes diesel fuel. The supply tank is accurately calibrated and we run a timed test to confirm the total burn. It’s a very simple and accurate way to confirm burn rates and cross reference them with the digital burn rates provided by the engine displays. We do these tests multiple times a day as they are dependent on variables such as weather, current, vessel speed, etc.
These tests are only as good as the boat’s range, that’s why it is imperative to know what your boat’s actual range is relative to the trip you are taking. As we know, Nordhavns have done around 150 ocean crossings. The range of Nordhavns are known and proven. So we are very secure with the knowledge we have with regard to fuel reserves and distance remaining before our next fuel stop. – James
Q: I did not see any marriage savers in use? Maybe none to save? Will you have some video of the heavy sea state you encountered? Wow first boat. It will be quite a learning experience. I moved up to a 60-footer two years ago and am still learning the boat. Good luck and enjoy! Patrick
A: Hi Patrick, We have two-way crew radios aboard which we use when fishing. Mike and I are both divorced and we don’t mind yelling at each other. – James
Q: Is Lisa a good crew mate? Have you got her working hard?
A: Hi Natalie, Lisa is a great crew mate! She works hard and is fun to be around. It’s been a pleasure being on board with her. – Doug
Q: Nice to see the Kiwi flag doing what it does best. Does that mean we get to see Spirit of Ulysses cruising around the Gulf at some stage in the future?
A: Certainly that was the plan, but I made the mistake of telling James Leishman that I really liked the N80 and unfortunately I can’t get away from him for the next 10 days!
Q: Hi Mike & congratulations both on your adventure and on your Nordhavn purchase. Awesome trip!
“May you have fair winds and following seas”
Having just LOI’d on a 41 at the Florida Boat Show , your initial journey is in my thoughts as potentially something i will do. With that in mind i am curious as to what you are using for weather forecasting software etc…. And the frequency of updates along with the satellite set up you have to enable connectivity whilst at sea.
Keep well and best regards, Vince
A: Hi Vince, congratulations to you! We are using Iridium GO! to receive weather maps and info from Windy. Also we are communicating with Jim Leishman who is looking at it for us at his home in California. We call on the SAT phone for updates. The SAT phone we are using is called an Iridium Extream. We can also text on a Garmin In Reach which we use to provide log updates when we don’t have cell service – this also gives us weather updates. We have had good 3G service near most all the islands in the Canaries.
Q: Great voyage. I took this with my father on a Nordic 68, but we went non-stop. He later bought anN72 the is much lije your boat with twins as well. Our weather was rough like yours at start, but improved off the African coast. We took 18 days as we ran into no wind and rolling seas, not my favorite in a sailboat. You will have a great adventure.
My question is how your boat handles in a quartering sea from the stern? Are you tracking well with autopilot? Yates
A: Hi Yates, the auto pilot is steering the boat beautifully. The vessel is equipped with two separate Simrad AP50 pilots. We are having an issue with the Furuno Satellite compass in that it’s losing its sat fix in rough sea conditions so we are switched over to the Flux gate compass which is currently doing its job.
Q: Hi Mike,
What has been the best and worst surprises of the trip so far?
A: The best surprise so far was seeing the lava from the volcano on La Palma flowing down the island. An incredible sight to see! The worst by far has been the 50 knot winds! That shouldn’t last too much longer hopefully!
Q: Hi Mike and crew,
I spent a lot of time on Spirit of Ulysses when she was in New Zealand last with her previous owner. She is a very fine vessel and will go through anything.
I remember being on her coming from the Bay of Islands across to Great Barrier Island with 40 Kts on the port beam 3-4 meter seas stabilizers running and sitting at the helm and the coffee hardly moved in the cup. I am sure you will enjoy her. All the best. Les
A: Hi Les, yes the boat has been doing great. It’s just so windy, it’s been hard to go out on the decks! We expect less wind as we move more south – hopefully down in the 20 knot range.
Q: Good morning from North Carolina. Are you equipped with SSB radio? Is there a ham aboard who might be interested in making contact? On previous boats we have enjoyed the hobby for both added safety and added coms capability.
A: Hi Jeff, yes we do have an SSB aboard.
Q: Would it be possible to give a breakdown with respect to ave speed, fuel burn and all that geeky stuff at the end of this crossing. Will follow all the video’s.
A: Hi Fred, we will try to give a overview of all that info once the trip is done!
Q: Hello, First off all I would like to congratulate the owner to his choice and to this trip a dream of most men !
Could you tell me what is the plan for speed and consumption during the trip ! And how the Boat behave on sich difficult weather conditions! I was looking into a Nordhaven 55 but would wait till the weather gets better before leaving the save place in Las Palmas .
Thanks a lot and enjoy each minutes
A: Thanks Martin
The fuel question I have tried my best to answer above, at least with what we know now. As for the weather its been a little worse than we expected but I think the N76’s extra length make’s it more forgiving. At the end of the day the Nordhavn will be fine its the sailors that may be a bit raggedy around the edges.
Good morning to the Owner/Captain and Crew:
First of all I wish you God’s Speed and a crossing/passage of a lifetime ! I am a long time Nordhavn fan, follow the Nordhavn events and enjoy the many videos and pictures posted. Without any hesitation I can say that Nordhavn is a leading edge “go anywhere” vessel manufacturer. On or off the grid a Nordhavn is a comfortable and safe place to be. I always have a big smile on my face when I see ONE around the Island of Mallorca, where I spend my summer months.
For sure you are familiar with Port Andratx, a very unique place and often home (for a few nights) of TOROA . Just a few weeks ago I returned to Scottsdale, Arizona, riding out the winter in the desert.
So here is my question:
Q: I assume the engine configuration is one main engine, Detroit Diesel and a wing engine, Lugger correct?
A: Actually we are running twin Detroit Series 60, 14 liter, turbo charged engines.
Q: Topping off, how many gallons of Diesel fuel do you have on board? How many gallons will you need for the passage?
A: We have a maximum capacity of 4520 gallons and plan to top up on the way at Cape Verde to provide a decent safety margin. It’s hard to be sure how much we will use depends so much on weather and sea conditions but we are tracking consumption and will know for sure when we reach Barbados.
Q: What are your parameters for Go No Go on sea and wind conditions and what speed range will you travel
A: If you have been around Nordhavn’s for long you’ll know its not going to be a boat limitation but I’m afraid while I love the adventure I’m not a salty sea dog and enjoy a good nights sleep so safety and comfort are always a priority over schedule. That said we make the decision together after looking at the conditions, forecast, and contingencies.
Q: What an adventure and god speed on your journey. How many are on board and what’s your ETA?
A: Thanks Doug, There’s five of us on this leg from Canaries to Barbados.
Q: Congratulations on the crossing Mike and crew. Wish to join the ranks one day. What will be the total fuel burn for the entire trip, please?
A: Thank you! I guess that depends on where you consider the trip starting and finishing. We filled up in Gibralter with 15,100 litres and headed down the Canaries where James and Doug joined us and are now headed down to Cape Verde where we will top up again before heading straight to the Barbados. We currently burn somewhere between 12 to 16 gallons an hour depending on sea state and what else we have running like generators, water makers etc. I’ll make sure to answer this one again when we get to Barbados.
Q: I’m excited for you all! Will you make a stop in the Cape Verde Islands?
A: Hi Alissa. Thank you for the question. We will be stopping in the Cape Verde Islands to refuel and provision before we head across the Atlantic to Barbados. Not sure yet when we’ll arrive but we are looking forward to it.
Q: Hi Mike,
First up well done you are living the dream of so many.
I know why you chose a Nordhavn, but why the N76, especially for your first boat?
I know when you were buying the N76FPH there was also a N68 FPH also for sale in the Med and also a N86 in North America that had just arrived from Australia for sale.
A: I actually looked at a N60 first but having already decided to run with a skipper for the first 12 month, given my lack of experience, and desire to have traveling companions the N60 was going to be a little small. Of course having the full beam master was an added incentive given the long adventures I had planned.